Investing through Benevolence Grants in Community Partnerships, 2020-2021

First Congregational Church Boulder, UCC strives to embody the call to be a good neighbor—in how we relate to one another as well as how our congregation relates to the larger community. The Board of Missions and Christian Social Action (BMCSA) reviewed grant applications and awarded Benevolence Funds, along with COVID-19 funds raised through special offerings from the congregation (noted by *), to the following organizations on behalf of the congregation. These organizations engage in compassionate social action. Their work complements our covenants: Inclusive Language, Just Peace, Whole Earth, Open and Affirming, Accessible to All, and W.I.S.E. Most fund recipients address the spirit of more than one of our covenants, but the list is grouped by areas to demonstrate the broad impact of benevolence investments.

Practicing compassion for those in need in our community, many of the awards this year were put to work right away addressing immediate needs exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • Attention Homes – Services, residency, and drop-in and shelter for homeless youth. Programs include a residential group home for youth in the foster care system, an emergency drop-in and overnight shelter facility.
  • Boulder County AIDS Project (BCAP) – Housing, medical, food, and transportation needs for persons with HIV.
  • *Boulder Food Rescue – Decreases food waste and provides equitable access to healthy food. Boulder Food Rescue is also a provider for food used in our Soup Kitchen program.
  • * Community Food Share – Efficiently providing food while maintaining the highest standards of food quality with emphasis on children, seniors, and other populations of greatest need.
  • Bridge House – Coordinated entry services to address homelessness. These funds will provide free meals to low-income and food-insecure households who are struggling due to the impacts of COVID-19.
  • Emergency Family Assistance Association (EFAA) – Services to alleviate emotional trauma of homelessness and extreme poverty of families with children.
  • * St Benedict Health and Healing Ministry (SBHHM) – Improving the physical, mental, and spiritual health of those people in our community who lack access to health care resources through their free clinic.
  • Mother House – Providing care, support, and resources, including skill-building, to mothers in crisis. “At Mother House, we don’t shelter women—we strengthen them.”
  • * Boulder Meals on Wheels – Providing home-delivered nutritious meals to residents in the community, often referred to as “invisible populations,” who need or want their services regardless of age or income.
  • Flatirons Habitat for Humanity – Our church supports Habitat’s mission of providing safe, decent, and affordable housing through the sale of grocery coupons.
  • * SAFE (Safe Access for Everyone) – Providing basic services and protecting the rights and dignities of our neighbors experiencing homelessness.

We are a Welcoming, Inclusive, Supportive, and Engaged congregation for mental health:

  • Mindful Works  Provides job-driven training and real employment opportunities to those in recovery from mental health challenges in the design and production of high quality, locally crafted products. They have made and distributed many masks during the pandemic.

Our Just Peace Covenant calls us to be active in issues of social justice, peace, and liberation, through hands-on involvement and financial support of local and global missions:

  • Motus Theater  Performances and discussions in UCC churches and other places that explore the lives of undocumented immigrants living in sanctuary to increase understanding about immigrant rights and sanctuary movements.
  • YWCA Boulder County  Supports “Reading to End Racism” program in K-8 schools in Boulder County.
  • TRI (The Reentry Initiative)  Helps women reentering the community from Boulder County jail and Denver Women’s Prison with housing and programs.
  • Intercambio  English classes for immigrant adults in the Boulder area, including keeping them connected to the community during social distancing.
  • International Rescue Committee (IRC) Extends help for refugees to find safety, recover, and gain control of their lives. Grants have been given as well as collections of household items.
  • The Family Learning Center  Encourages successful lifelong learning and economic self-sufficiency for families of diverse cultures and limited incomes, with special emphasis on helping students continue their education and enrichment during the pandemic.

The Accessibility to All (A2A) covenant expresses our intention to extend God’s extravagant welcome to all persons and to empower people with all differing abilities and disabilities, apparent or unapparent:

Our commitment to actively work to promote care for God’s ongoing creation and humility in our relationships to Earth and all its systems:

  • Wildlands Restoration Volunteers  Funding to aid volunteers who restore Front Range lands, trails and waterways as well as increase youth environmental education.
  • Growing Gardens Enriches the lives of our community through sustainable urban agriculture, donations of produce and plants/seeds, and providing opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds to connect with their food, the land and each other.
  • One School at a Time  Empowering older girls to stay in school through the re-useable sanitary pad program in Uganda. Educated girls can break the cycle of poverty for both their families and communities.
  • Opportunity Tree  Funding scholarships for secondary and university/technical school for youth in rural Nicaragua who would otherwise be unable to continue their education.

Benevolence funds also support the Soup Kitchen and Pastors’ Purse.

* Recipient of COVID-19 Special Offering Funds